Recognizing Volunteers

 Early weeding and turning the beds prevents me from digging up most volunteers since they haven’t sprouted up yet. It can be hard to recognize them if you aren’t sure what you are looking for. The way I avoid pulling them up is to:

1. be patient, you don’t have to pull every plant up immediately just in case it is a weed, if you’re not sure, wait a week or two for that second set of leaves
2. pull up plants you are sure ARE weeds, that will make it easier to spot useful volunteers

So here are a few photos of volunteers. I will try to update this page for future reference when I have pictures of other sprouts of interest.

Tomatoes are probably the most notorious volunteers, but who doesn’t want more tomato plants?

Tomatoes just after sprouting. They have a distinct purplish tint to the underside of the leaves and stem and the stem always looks just a little fuzzy.  Another dead give away, they usually grow in clumps. 

When tomatoes get just a little bigger, their second set of
leaves makes spotting them much easier.

Here are a number of kale sprouts. The cotyl leaves have that distinct “cole crop” shape that broccoli, collards, cabbage, and cauliflower share. The second set of leaves makes it obvious what type of volunteer this is.

I am pretty sure these are tomatillos, but I am patiently waiting to see if I am right. They are growing in a clump where the tomatillos were last year.  If they don’t grow up to be tomatillos, I can pull them all up very easily.

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